LOS ANGELES, Calif. Aug. 10, 2001 (UPI) — Los Angeles is a city so divided by complex ethnic suspicions that in June white Republicans allied with black Democrats to prevent the election of a Mexican-American mayor. Yet, this week sixteen thousand Southern Californians of all races and languages gathered peacefully in a multicultural celebration of an institution that finally unites rather than divides this most diverse of American cities: namely, the World Wrestling Federation's "Smackdown!"
The Smackdown! audience in the gleaming Staples Center offered almost a scale model of LA's ethnic composition: about half Hispanic, but with large numbers of whites, blacks, and Southeast Asians. The only groups not well represented were other Asians and Jews.
LA's most celebrated philosopher, Rodney King, once asked, "Why can't we all just get along?" At Smackdown!, everybody got along famously (except the wrestlers). The WWF fans were far better behaved than, say, the notoriously drunken and hostile mob at the 1999 Ryder Cup golf tournament at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
After the headlining match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle had ended in chaos, I became frustrated with how slowly we were all filing out up the stairs. "Hey, can we get a move on up there?" I shouted. Only then did I notice that we were moving haltingly because the people in line ahead of me were politely waiting for a man with a crippled leg to haul himself along with his arms.